The LORD spoke to Moses,
"Set apart every firstborn male for me. Every firstborn male offspring among the Israelites is mine, whether human or animal."
Then Moses said to the people, "Remember this day--the day when you left Egypt, the land of slavery. The LORD used his mighty hand to bring you out of there. Don't eat anything made with yeast.
Today, in the month of Abib, you are leaving Egypt.
The LORD swore to your ancestors that he would give you the land of the Canaanites, Hittites, Amorites, Hivites, and Jebusites. When he brings you into that land flowing with milk and honey, you must observe this ceremony in this month.
"For seven days you must eat unleavened bread. The seventh day will be a pilgrimage festival in the LORD's honor.
Only unleavened bread should be eaten during these seven days. No sourdough or yeast should be seen anywhere in your territory.
On that day tell your children, 'We do this because of what the LORD did for us when we left Egypt.'
This [festival] will be [like] a mark on your hand or a reminder on your forehead that the teachings of the LORD are [always] to be a part of your conversation. Because the LORD used his mighty hand to bring you out of Egypt,
you must follow these rules every year at this time.
"When the LORD brings you to the land of the Canaanites and gives it to you, as he swore to you and your ancestors,
sacrifice every firstborn male offspring to the LORD. The firstborn male offspring of each of your animals belongs to the LORD.
It will cost you a sheep or a goat to buy any firstborn donkey back from the LORD. If you don't buy it back, then you must break the donkey's neck. You must also buy every firstborn son back from the LORD.
"In the future when your children ask you what this means, tell them, 'The LORD used his mighty hand to bring us out of slavery in Egypt.
When Pharaoh was too stubborn to let us go, the LORD killed every firstborn male in Egypt--human and animal. This is why we sacrifice every firstborn male to the LORD and buy every firstborn son back from the LORD.'
So this [festival] will be [like] a mark on your hand and [like] a band on your forehead, because the LORD used his mighty hand to bring us out of Egypt."
When Pharaoh let the people go, God didn't lead them on the road through Philistine territory, although that was the shortest route. God said, "If they see that they have to fight a war, they may change their minds and go back to Egypt."
So God led the people around the other way, on the road through the desert toward the Red Sea. The Israelites were ready for battle when they left Egypt.
Moses took the bones of Joseph with him, because Joseph had made the Israelites solemnly swear to do this. Joseph had said, "God will definitely come to help you. When he does, take my bones with you."
They moved from Succoth and camped at Etham, on the edge of the desert.
By day the LORD went ahead of them in a column of smoke to lead them on their way. By night he went ahead of them in a column of fire to give them light so that they could travel by day or by night.
The column of smoke was always in front of the people during the day. The column of fire was always there at night.